Careful who you quote Kiri

I don’t normally listen to debates on bills, but I was in the House waiting for Chris Finlayson’s valedictory speech and heard some speeches on a Reserve Bank amendment bill.

Labour MP Kiri Allan finished her speech by saying:

I’ve been struck by the words of the founder of Ford Motors. It was Henry Ford who said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and our monetary system … I believe,” he said, “there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning [if they did].” As we have covered off aspects of what is required to be considered by the bank in developing our monetary policy, I think I’ve come to share Henry Ford’s view.

Henry Ford is a very good person to quote on automobiles but a very bad person to quote on monetary policy.

The reason for this is Ford was a massive anti-Semite who hated Jews. His criticisms of monetary policy were rooted in his beliefs that Jews controlled the world’s money etc.

Some of the things Ford did include:

  • sponsored a weekly newspaper that published strongly antisemitic views against “the Jewish menace”
  • published “The International Jew” in 1920 with chapters such as “
    The High and Low of Jewish Money Power”, “
    Jewish Idea in American Monetary Affairs” and “
    Jewish Power and America’s Money Famine”
  • wrote “If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball they have it in three words—too much Jew.”
  • was quoted favourably by Hitler in Mein Kampf and Hitler called him an inspiration
  • blamed the Jews for provoking violence against them
  • was granted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle by Nazi Germany in 1938

I’m sure Kiri (who is a very nice person) had no idea of Ford’s background when she quoted him. It is a popular quote you often see on the Internet. But the lesson is to be careful of whom you approvingly quote.

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